The day’s business began with the house leaders of all four parties discussing just how they were going to manage to come to some kind of an agreement over how they’re going to comply with the Speaker’s ruling and release the Afghan detainee documents to the House. It was, by all accounts, a cordial first meeting, but nothing has been decided yet.
During Members’ Statements, Liberal Anita Neville decried the hollowing-out of funding for women’s groups in Canada, which is an alarm bell that too few people are ringing. Judy Wasylycia-Leis did, but she is on her way out.
Question Period was minus three of the four party leaders, and as a result seemed to lack the air of adult supervision. I say this because leading off was Dominic LeBlanc asking about – you guessed it – Rahim Jaffer and his lobbying efforts. (Oh, look – the civil service bristled at having to treat Jaffer as a priority). But wait – it gets better.
Gilles Duceppe got up to denounce the appointment of Jacques Leger to the Quebec Court of Appeal, seeing as he’s a past Conservative party president, and he once represented the Hell’s Angels. And no matter that Christian Paradis assured the House that there is a rigorous merit-based appointment process, it didn’t stop the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair from drawing links between Leger’s Hell’s Angels connections to Rahim Jaffer’s business contact’s, and those of Maxime Bernier’s ex-girlfriend, Julie Couillard. But no bites – just assurances of a rigorous appointment process.
More questions about Jaffer, followed by questions about abortions in third world countries and the forestry sector. Ujjal Dosanjh asked about missing documents needed by the Military Police Complaints Commission, while Bob Rae asked whether we would even have a civilian process in Kandahar after 2011, especially as NGOs had told him their funding was not to extend past the troops' pull-out date. Mark Holland and Don Davies each asked about the facts surrounding the costs of prisons in this country (and got no answer – just assertions that they were soft on crime). Right at the very end, Liberal MP Rob Oliphant asked a question about an Allied veteran who had since become Canadian, but was denied a bed at a veterans’ hospital and subsequently died. Jean-Pierre Blackburn assured him that Allies could get access and that all those bed closures was because they simply didn’t need them. (I don’t think Oliphant was convinced by that answer).
Oh, and the “culture of deceit” drinking game was a mere three shots, and John Baird’s constant non-sequitur rejoinders of “$39 million!” were a mere four shots’ worth.
Sartorially speaking, there was nothing really deserving of snaps, but again a polite round of applause for Diane Finley for continuing to explore colour, in this case a pale green ensemble with a modern cut jacket. Style citations go out to Sylvie Boucher and Royal Galipeau for their insistence on wearing hockey jerseys into the House under their jackets. And the Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a nice black suit with a ruffled fuchsia top and black heels.
Elsewhere, the Ethics Commissioner released her report on the government’s (mis)use of novelty cheques. Basically, using them is a bad thing, but oh, there’s a loophole in the legislation, so it’s not illegal for them to do so. Well, glad we got that cleared up…
Up today – It’s Stephen Harper’s 51st birthday today! But funnily enough, I’m not sure I really want to know what his birthday wish is.
PS – Ottawa-Gatineau has been named Canada’s most liveable city.